LOWERING THE TARIFF
Newark, New Jersey
The manufacturers of Newark will be adversely affected if the tariff is lowered to any considerable extent. There are few cities that use more of the metals than this place. As a center for the manufacture of gold jewelry it is the largest in the country for high-grade goods. The low tariff will affect the plater and ten karat goods more than it will the 14 and 18 karat and platinum lines, as there is more labor in the cheaper goods and less metal. In the higher grades there is more metal and less labor. These lines can be made in foreign countries for about half what it costs to produce them here, as wages are considerably more, it costs much more to erect a factory and equip it, the insurance is more and the running expenses are more. The only thing that costs the same on both sides of the water is metal.
There is a large amount of sterling silver and plated lines made here, and the manufacturers come in direct competition with the cheap labor of England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, etc. The best of machinery is in use in foreign countries, and their output is larger than ours, in proportion to the capital invested, as the workmen abroad work longer hours. Platinum lines are not affected as much, as this metal is used mostly for special order work and from designs where only one piece is made. Metal parts and novelties of brass, tin. aluminum, bronze, etc., are made so cheap abroad that a protective duty is necessary or the manufacturers here will go out of business or reduce wages to make up for the difference in duty.
Riker Bros., manufacturing jewelers, say that if the duty is reduced very much it will have a disastrous effect on their business and if reduced on general lines, so as to affect these industries, then it will also be seriously felt by the jewelry trade. Jones & Woodland, manufacturing jewelers, are in favor of letting well enough alone and that it is very poor policy to go hacking at the manufacturing interests to see how close you can come to them without killing them altogether.
The Alpha Jewel Company say that jewels can not be made in direct competition with Europe.
Carter. Howe & Company, manufacturing jewelers, are opposed to any revision, except by a commission who would look into all phases of the subject.
What applies to metal, also applies to other lines used in connection, such as pearl, ivory, celluloid, amber, tortoise shell, Parisian ivory and all the precious and semi-precious stones. Hayes Bros, say a small reduction would not hurt business, and anyway the trade would not be affected much for two years. Charles Nobs & Sons and the Newark Watch Case Material Company say that it would be impossible to continue manufacturing these lines if the duty was lowered very much.
If the duty is lowered on watches it will hurt considerably the cheaper line of watches, selling from one to ten dollars. It will also affect some of the higher priced watches. A protective duty is also necessary for watch cases. C. Lemaitre & Company, making findings for the manufacturing jewelers, are very much opposed to any radical reduction in duty on general lines or in their own line, for it is bound to disturb business. The Henry Ziruth Company, making gold and platinum chains, say they hope conditions will not be as bad as under the old Wilson tariff bill, when most every one was looking for a free soup house.
Source: The Metal Industry - May 1913